Indian Lilac (Lagerstroemia indica) also called Crepe Myrtle or Chiffon Flower, belongs to the family of Lythraceae. Cet ornamental tree deciduous, native to the Orient, can reach 3 to 6 m in height. It works wonders in the garden when, from July to October, it is covered with flowers of different colors (red, white, pink, mauve) and when in autumn its leaves are adorned with a range of flamboyant colors, yellow, orange and red. It sports a branched form from the base. It is a multi-stemmed tree whose smooth creamy bark with greyish-pink or brown-red marbling is extremely decorative and reveals itself after the leaves have fallen. To enhance its foliage and allow the Indian Lilac to maintain a perfectly balanced and majestic silhouette, it is advisable to prune it. Let’s see how to do it.
When to prune the Indian Lilac?
Each year it is end of February to end of March that the Crepe Myrtle prunes, that is to say before the restarting of the vegetation and the appearance of the leaves. At this time of the year, the temperatures begin to soften, but in the event of frost, it is better to postpone pruning by a few days.
Note that it is not it is not mandatory to prune an Indian Lilac. We can absolutely let it grow naturally but after a few years, it risks becoming too large, which is not desirable if it is installed in a very small garden. In addition, branches growing inward deprive the center of the shrub of light and air. The pruning therefore makes it possible to intervene on its shape but also proves to be useful for preserving the good health of the subject.
To reduce the risk of disease transmission, it is necessary to have a shears and a lopper disinfected, the latter being mandatory for cutting branches with a diameter greater than 1 cm. The largest branches starting from the base require the use of a saw. The tools must be very sharp because it is very important to make clean and clean cuts. This facilitates healing.
How to prune an Indian Lilac?
The Lagerstroemia blooms on the shoots of the year. Pruning takes place before their formation, so there is no risk of compromising flowering. However, there is no question of cutting just any branch because it is important to retain its natural appearance and his flared port of great elegance becomes more and more majestic with time. Before starting the size, it is necessary to appreciate the shrub as a whole by taking a step back to be able to observe it.
Different prunings are to be carried out on the Indian Lilac, namely the training pruning and the maintenance pruning.
The training size renews itself every year in early spring for 3 or 4 years after planting. It therefore concerns the young Indian lilacs. Thanks to it, we intervene on the future silhouette of the shrubs. So we can :
- Either eliminate the branches that develop at the base of the trunk, in order to direct the Indian Lilac on stem,
- Either proceed to coppicing, which consists of pruning the main trunk very low to push it to form several vigorous shoots, the best placed of which will then be kept in order to give the shrub the most natural shape possible and that its silhouette is well balanced. An Indian Lilac in clump can therefore have 3, 5 or 7 trunks, which start either from the base or 1 m or more from the ground. The gardener chooses the form that suits him best. All that remains for him thereafter is to perform a coppice maintenance pruningremoving only misplaced branches and twigs that appear at the base.
The stump pruning is carried out on subjects under 5 years of age. It is particularly interesting if you grow an Indian Lilac on a small plot. Of course, this size is only suitable for species that reject like the Lagerstroemia. But this is not the case for all trees, far from it. If you are new to gardening, do not hesitate to ask a landscaper for advice or, even better, to entrust him with the pruning of your Indian lilac and other species.
In any case, when carrying out a training pruning, one must always take care to:
- Preserve the carpenter branches,
- Remove fragile branches, those that are misdirected, that cross or will prove to be troublesome after a few years,
- Eliminate excess branches so that the shrub has an airy silhouette.
The natural flared shape of Indian Lilac must of course be preserved.
The Indian Lilac maintenance pruning
This is a relatively lightweight size that serves to preserve the figure of the subject after successive training sizes. It consists of :
- Remove dead wood,
- Cast off:
- aging branches by 30%,
- the branches of the previous year about 6 cm from the trunk, taking care to prune just above an outward-facing node,
- Cut twigs or branches that are incorrectly oriented and/or that cross, risking unbalancing its silhouette,
- Eliminate too many branches at the heart of the antlers to facilitate the penetration of air and light.
The Lagerstroemia is a vigorous plant with rapid growth. It therefore has no problem forming new branches after a cut. Note also that it supports even severe pruning very well after which it blooms even more profusely. It is therefore a species that lends itself perfectly to miniaturization. Lovers of bonsai will appreciate. Of course, as we have seen, it is possible not to prune it at all, but it will form a bushy bush giving small flowers much less spectacular than after pruning.